Movements in World Cinema

Graduate: Aesthetic and Ideological Movements in World Cinema

This course considers theoretical and critical approaches in film studies with a focus on alternative, activist and radical film movements. It analyzes how oppositional film movements challenge the aesthetic and ideological paradigms of commercial mainstream cinemas (“Hollywood,” “Bollywood,” Hong Kong cinema, etc), and it inquires into the formal and political implications of the alternatives offered. We will view and discuss films that can be characterized as Accented Cinema, Regional Cinema, Transnational Cinema, Third Cinema, and more. Class discussions will explore questions such as the following: how do resistance cinemas challenge conventional styles as a way of challenging political conditions? How do the constraints on the production and distribution of marginal cinemas influence what films are made and seen? How does transnational circulation change the implications of films responding to local conditions? How do internet platforms and digital markets shape the production and reception of world cinema texts?

This course will be especially relevant to those interested in narrative studies and alternative poetics, those interested in exploring cultural studies’ approaches, those attentive to international cultural circulation, and, of course, those interested in thinking about how to analyze films as part of literary studies. You will be responsible for regular response papers and short presentations in addition to longer written work. Readings will include selections from Adorno and Horheimer, Fanon, Solanas and Getino, Gabriel, Mulvey, Diawara, Ukadike, Harrow, Naficy, Shohat, Stam, Spense, Appadurai, White, and Nichols. Films may include works directed by Curtiz, Kurosawa, Pontecorvo, Sembene, Ramaka, Sissako, Kelani, Haneke, Cuaron, Chadha, Mehta, Tanovic, and Zbanic.